Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday 18 September

With a return to more regular blogging I want to revive my WIP Wednesday too. I make a LOT more than I show on this blog. In fact, it started as a craft blog, but has slowly evolved into more of a general diary. I would quite like to be better at recording my makes - in fact, every year I have a New Year's resolution to keep my Ravelry project page up to date. In reality I find I want to do a photoshoot, the weather's never right or I forget my camera or it's got dark, I'm already three projects further along and I lose the urge to post about it. Maybe my WIP Wednesday will help - or maybe I should start a FO Friday...?

Anyway, enough rambling, onto my project. It's not really a WIP anymore, as in fact it's blocking in my conservatory and all that's left to do is sew the three buttons on. But I haven't got anything else on the needles right now, so this is what you're going to get!

It's been a little warmer here today than in the last few days (brrrr it was cold in the evenings, specially as I'm resisting turning the heating on for a few more weeks yet) and the jacket is probably almost ready to come off the towel.
The pattern is Harriet's Jacket by Elizabeth McCarten, a Canadian designer whose designs I'd seen before and always liked. For years I haven't knitted a full garment as too many times I'd spend months and months on something, only to find that I didn't like the finished sweater as it wouldn't fit quite right or didn't look as I'd imagined. I followed Liz's blog as she designed this cardigan and liked it so much that I couldn't get it out of my head. After knitting my Gladys cardi, which was quite successful (and needs another blog post!), I bit the bullet and bought yarn for Harriet's Jacket. I started back in August, in fact, I knitted lots of it on the ferry back from Holland, and cast off last Monday during 14yo's ballet lesson. It was a very quick knit and I enjoyed every moment of it. The construction is very ingenious - you start at the cuff and work your way up the sleeve on a circular needle. In the past, circular needles and I haven't been on the best of terms, but I looked into the magic loop method and once I'd mastered that, I was away. Actually, you can hardly say 'mastered', as it is so simple. When the sleeve is the right length, and the great thing about circular needles is that you can try it on as you go, you increase stitches for under the arm and from there you knit the front and back half. You knit another sleeve just like that, then attach the two halves in the center back. Next up is the collar, and then the peplum. I knit mine a little longer as I'm tall (almost 6ft).
As I said, I cast off on Monday night and all that was left to do was sew in ends - no sewing up at all! Brilliant...

Looking at my photo and photos on the pattern I realise I've blocked mine a little wrong, as the bottom needs to be at an angle. I may just re-block it, because the increases at the side sit a little oddly at the moment.

I've tried it on and it's slightly bigger than I'd hoped (despite getting perfect gauge) but it's very warm and comfortable and I'm looking forward to wearing it. It looks fabulous on 14yo, so I'm hoping she'll be willing to model it this weekend for some proper modelled photos!

Now what to knit next... I've got a little project lined up - a crochet pincushion on the top of a jar for 14yo's Fashion and Textiles lessons, but after that - definitely another full garment, but what...? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday 17 September

Ten on Tuesday

The kids have been back at school for almost a fortnight now and seem settled in, if the early morning frustration of getting to the bus stop on time is anything to go by. I've been back at work for the same amount of time and my ten days' holidays seem a long time ago. It doesn't help that the weather has turned decidedly autumnal - cold, wet, windy and it's getting dark earlier every evening at an alarmingly fast rate.

Time to get back to a more regular blogging schedule, and I thought my Happy Ten on Tuesday would be a good start.

1. For the first time in months, B. and I had a whole weekend together. We didn't do anything special or spectacular, but it was a full weekend and it was lovely just to potter around and have a bit more time together.

2. One of our jobs was moving (some of) the tractors to another barn for Winter. I had B. line them up for a photo and was really pleased with how this turned out:

3. On Saturday I picked a bowl full of blackberries for dessert, and we then went to B's father's orchard and picked a load of apples, plums, hazelnuts and some walnuts. On my bike ride earlier that day I'd picked up some squashes and flowers from a little roadside stall. Laid out on the table, it just said Autumn...

Excuse the odd yellow tinge to the photo - this weekend I finally found a nice white balance setting for indoors, low light photos (this wasn't it!).

4. With the blackberries and apples, I made the most delicious dessert. It was possibly the nicest dessert I've ever made and I've already frozen some blackberries so I can make it again for Christmas. Blackberry and apple meringue pie:

5. Ordering sewing supplies for 14yo who started a Fashion and Textiles GCSE this year.

6. My first cup of coffee of the day after dropping 14yo off at the school bus stop.

7. 14yo being very enthusiastic about all her new lessons (she started her GCSE curriculum this school year). Love seeing her motivation to do well.

8. Finishing a cardigan that was knitted entirely in the round. So after casting off, there were only ends to weave in, not anything to sew up. Brilliant!

9. Noticing how my relationship with my 'little old lady' has developed over the past year. She's quite an introvert who doesn't really show her emotions, but through small things I can tell she enjoys my visits. And I enjoy seeing her too.

10. That special Autumn sunlight, that very yellow, warm light you get at the end of the afternoon. Takes me back to doing secondary school homework and looking out of my bedroom window at the garden and the long shadows. Autumn is my favourite time of year, it really is.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday 8 September

Summer is where the blog gets neglected. With the kids both at home but me still working fulltime and three days of that from home, routine goes out of the window and I just can't find the time to sit down and concentrate on publishing a post.

We had a lovely time though. At 14 and 11 they are getting ever more independent. Of course there were several moments where I just wanted 11yo to stop hanging around me and try and find himself something to do that didn't involve Minecraft, where I got fed up with the mess that faced me every time I stepped into the kitchen, even if I'd left it tidy only 5 minutes before, and when I had to get in the car yet again to drop 14yo off somewhere for her busy social life. But on the whole we had a good time, they were good company, they helped me out enough so I didn't need to worry about housework too much (not that housework is high on my list of priorities at any time!) and I miss them now they're back at school.

An evening walk at Hardwick Heath

Kentwell Hall, on a long walk with parttime dog
A visit to the Dutch embassy in London to renew our passports, with flag halfmast as it was prince Friso's funeral that day

Spending a bit of quality time with 14yo at Carnaby Street

The arrival of our passports 9 days after requesting them, which meant we could still make a short trip to Holland before the holidays finished

 11yo taking a picture of me taking a picture of him

 Another photography enthusiast

 The only way to make him laugh for a photo is to tickle him

Bumping into my best friend who I've known since we were 4 years old, in the town we grew up in

Two pictures of my favourite place in Holland - de Hoge Veluwe

11yo loves the Hoge Veluwe as much as me

Visiting a modern art gallery

A rare smile for the camera - surprisingly enough very early on the morning ferry at Hoek van Holland!

And that was our summer. The weather changed last Friday from very hot and sunny to windy and wet, and now we're having some of those cold in the morning but sunny later on days which makes me love Autumn. The kids were both looking forward to returning to school and I'm ready to return to a more regular routine. Life is good.